I haven’t done one of these in awhile, so here goes. This is an occasional BPP feature and probably the most allegorical thing we do. Credit the great Josh Wilker for originally posting a lineup card of his favorite writers. Today, we look at high court justices, past and present.
P- Earl Warren: The longtime head of the Supreme Court might be its Cy Young. Among Warren’s biggest decisions: ending school segregation, guaranteeing Miranda Rights, and ensuring that political representation correlated with population size. And in his bravest performance, akin to Young’s 20-inning loss to Rube Waddell in 1905, Warren overcame personal reservations and led the commission that investigated the assassination of John F. Kennedy.
C- William Howard Taft: The only man to serve as both president and chief justice would crush any runner dumb enough to challenge him. Scott Cousins would long for the days of flattening Buster Posey while being pried out of Taft’s 330-pound girth. Never again would the Miami Marlins agree to an exhibition against a court.
1B- William Brennan: Lou Gehrig’s got nothing on Brennan, an Iron Horse of justice from 1956 to 1990. Brennan was a progressive, known for his views and writing the decision in New York Times v. Sullivan that established that actual malice was needed for libel judgments involving public figures. The journalist in me appreciates that almost as much as my inner baseball historian loves Gehrig’s “luckiest man in the world” speech.
2B- Thurgood Marshall: Marshall was the first African American justice with his appointment in 1967, so he’ll patrol where Jackie Robinson played the most games in his career.
SS- Sandra Day O’Connor: Who’s the perfect double play partner for the first black man on the court? The first woman. Granted, O’Connor would protest vociferously, telling court beat writers she’d been a star right fielder in the federal appellate leagues. None of the writers would listen, though, unaware O’Connor found their Phil Rizzuto comparisons deeply patronizing. And Rizzuto, for his part, would never get over his subsequent nickname of Sandra.
3B- Hugo Black: The 1919 Chicago White Sox were a deeply divided team with first baseman Chick Gandil refusing to speak to star second baseman Eddie Collins for two years. Black and Marshall might be the Gandil and Collins of this team, thanks to Black’s one-time membership in the Ku Klux Klan.
RF- Antonin Scalia: Right field’s an appropriate place for a right-leaning judge. Scalia would be known for his rifle arm, confusing to some who’d question if it was a reference to his support for the National Rifle Association.
CF- Oliver Wendell Holmes: Ask the average high school or college student to name any Supreme Court justice who hasn’t sat on the bench in their lifetime. They might know of Holmes, who has a name out of a Charles Dickens novel and was a legend of the 19th century high court. He’s Pete Browning here.
LF- William Rehnquist: Rehnquist marched to his own beat during his time on the court, a Nixon-era appointee who cast the deciding vote in Bush v. Gore in 2000. He’ll play left field.